Arsio Piano Duo
The pianists Susanna Artzt and Manfred Wagner-Artzt decided as early as 1998 to complement their intensive work as soloists and chamber musicians by founding a piano duo, as it was apparent from the first time they played together that they formed an ideal partnership not only in their private life but also in the sphere of music.
It was above all a fascinating experience for them to find a common language in spite of the fact that they came from very different musical directions. Since they are both artists of a soloist persuasion, a certain polarity characterizes their duo playing and it is this that gives rise to such compelling interpretations – which are always the product of a symbiosis between two musical personalities.
In Robert Schumann's Bilder aus Osten, the ideas from Friedrich Rückert's retelling of the Arabic Maqamen of Hariri really came alive. Schumann had been inspired by reading them – just as the enthusiastic guests were in the imperial setting of the completely sold-out Hallensalon venue. Thanks to the piano duo's captivating interpretation, Schubert's Fantasia in F minor D 940, composed for four hands, struck one as a logical precursor of Chopin's perfection in dance. Serious, but still invigorating in every single note – bitter-sweet, like life itself. What a moving experience the incredibly intense Largo was!
The concert by Susanna Artzt and Manfred Wagner-Artzt, who form the Arsio Piano Duo, was a wonderful combination of technique and sensitivity. ... Performed extremely harmoniously, with vivacity and warmth. Then the married couple played four-handed in Francis Poulenc's Sonata for Piano Four Hands, Igor Stravinsky's Five Easy Pieces and Johannes Brahms' Sixteen Waltzes, Op. 39.
Quod erat demonstrandum: Ovations are a dead cert whenever the pianist pair Susanna and Manfred Wagner-Artzt appear at the Chopin Society.... Another highlight of the evening was when the pianists played together four-hands. In Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dances, the Wagner-Artzts did not stray into any simple, superficial phrase-mongering. Instead the necessary subtle wit held sway, and the three pieces performed – in G minor, F major and F sharp minor – paid lively homage (to the extent that it is present in Brahms) to Hungary.
And befitting the ball season, there was plenty of lusty dancing in Ludwig van Beethoven's Three Marches for Piano, Four Hands op.45. Their rendition of No. 1 in C major was impressive for the delicate changes of voice; a sophisticated dialogue developed between bass and descant... Bravissimo!#
Ovations for Chopin and friends